GoPro has been trying to diversify its offerings with the Karma drone and Fusion 360 camera. But Hero remains its most important product. The company has hit a few bump along the way, which forced CEO Nick Woodman to shut down the entertainment unit and cut hundreds of jobs. One product that can revive GoPro’s fortunes is its upcoming Hero 6 action camera.

GoPro Hero 6 Action Camera
Image Source: GoPro.com (screenshot)

Hero 6 is coming later this year

Nick Woodman, GoPro’s outspoken CEO, has confirmed that the California company would release the Hero 6 action camera later this year. During the company’s quarterly earnings call, an analyst asked Woodman whether the Hero 6 would hit the stores in 2017 or 2018. Woodman said the company was on track to launch new cameras and accessories later this year and “the new camera being Hero 6.”

Last year’s Hero 5 brought many exciting new features such as voice controls, an improved form factor, and image stabilization. The Hero 6 action camera will certainly be an improvement over its predecessor. But it needs to take a big leap rather than being a minor upgrade. The biggest challenge with GoPro Hero has been offloading content from the camera to the cloud or social media.

Will Hero 6 allow users to live stream content to social media?

The company tried to address the problem by introducing GoPro Plus with Hero 5. GoPro Plus is a cloud service that offloads content from the camera once it’s plugged in. Users can then access the cloud content through a Quik app. However, it costs users $5 per month, and limits resolution and the amount of content. With the Hero 6 action camera, GoPro needs to make it easier, and possibly free, to connect through smartphones, says Travis Hoium of The Motley Fool. Companies like Google and Dropbox already offer free cloud storage.

Another feature that we expect to see in the Hero 6 is the ability to go live with the GoPro content. Popular social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snap, and YouTube have all been offering the live streaming feature. All of them rely on smartphones to capture content. But there are some amazing adventures and moments that can be captured better on a GoPro camera than on a smartphone.

If GoPro can add the ability to go live on social media with the Hero 6, it would be a game-changer. The camera may go through a smartphone to access social networks for live broadcasting. It would also broaden the use case for GoPro cameras. Talking about the Hero 6, Woodman said earlier this year, “It’ll be bitchin. You’re gonna flip. You’re gonna love it.”

Hero 6 action camera: Other expected features

The GoPro chief executive has also revealed that the Hero 6 would offer better colors. The company has consistently been trying to offer users better color in the camera itself, and the Hero 6 would be no exception. In fact, Woodman said the new camera would make “significant advancements in that area.” In term of design, the Hero 6 action camera is unlikely to deviate too far from its predecessor.

The upcoming camera needs to be as innovative and useful as possible. A lot is riding on the Hero 6 as GoPro tries to revive its fortunes. The Hero 5 production issues and the Karma drone recall have already affected its brand image. There have been speculations that the company is working on its own processor, which could power the GoPro Hero 6.

The rumor mill claims that the Hero 6 could jump to 8K resolution because 4K would have gone mainstream by the time the camera comes out. However, that seems unlikely at this point. The Hero 6 is rumored to offer a slimmer design, 4K resolution, and 60fps video recording. The camera will be waterproof, just like Hero 5. The Hero 6 is expected to pack a 1500mAh battery to let users record videos for longer periods.

GoPro Hero 6 price and release date

GoPro hasn’t revealed when it would launch the Hero 6 action camera. But history shows that the company has launched its major new products ahead of the holiday shopping season. The Hero 4 was launched in September 2014. The Hero 5 came out in September 2016. We expect the Hero 6 to launch sometime in September this year.

According to Japanese blog Nokoshita, the Hero 6 Black was recently registered with a public agency in China. The blog says all devices featuring WiFi must be registered with the agency before they can be sold in the Chinese market. It indicates that the device could be launched soon. Launching it in time for the holiday season would help GoPro capitalize on the holiday sales. The Hero 6 is expected to cost $400.

GoPro certainly knows what needs to be done with its most important upcoming product. If it fails to impress consumers, the company will have a tough time reviving its fortunes. The Karma drone and Fusion cannot replace the Hero cameras in the near future.